Like How Many Cows Does a Hotel Room in Paris Cost?
Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group
That’s what the no-nonsense emissary from the Soviet Union, Nina Ivanovna “Ninotchka” Yakushova (Greta Garbo) wonders when she arrives in Paris in my favorite film, the classic Ernst Lubitsch-directed, Academy-Award nominated Ninotchka.
She is calculating that one cow can feed many of her hungry communist comrades, while what her foolish comrades outrageously spend on a capitalistically ostentatious Parisian hotel suite is equivalent the price of a herd.
Looking out the window from her obscenely-expensive Paris hotel suite, she observes “we have the high ideals, but they have the climate.”
Ninotchka shows she has a soft spot in her heart for even her most wicked adversaries. That spot starts a romantic thaw in her stern allegiance to her idol, the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, whose picture she places lovingly beside her wherever she goes. While Democrats and Republicans endlessly disagree, I hope now and then they’ll still find that soft spot in their hearts for one another.
Ninotchka’s is dispatched to Paris to ensure the sale of jewels seized during the Russian Revolution.
If you never saw one of my favorite, most wonderful of all films, I implore you, I beseech you, especially those of you who are political, to buy it, rent it, see it before midnight tonight, which is when the hands on a Parisian clock come together, when half of Paris is making love to the other half.
Meanwhile, the charming, carefree bachelor Count Leon d’Algout (Melvyn Douglas) attempts to intercept the valuables on behalf of their former owner, the Grand Duchess Swana (Ina Claire).
Despite their conflicting allegiances, the icy Ninotchka soon warms to Leon’s charms, reluctantly going against her better judgment.
To melt Ninotchka’s icy exterior with examples of primordial love, Leon asks her:
Why do doves bill and coo?
Why do snails, the coldest of all creatures, circle interminably around each other?
No, I’m sorry movie fans, there are no explosions, shootings, stabbings or car crashes and the film is in black and white.
Yet watch how sweetly it depicts how love can cross the divide between ideologies, bring die-hard opponents together . . . make mortal enemies warmly smile at each other.
Ninotchka is humanity at its finest and Garbo at her greatest.
See it. Enjoy it, comrades, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. Maybe we can find something to love in one other.
Watch Ninotchka tonight!
About the Author: Thomas Madden is CEO of TransMedia Group, one of the largest independent PR firms in Florida, where it currently operates. The firm’s clients have included AT&T, American Red Cross, City of New York, GL Homes, Jordache Enterprises, McCormick and Schmick’s, Rexall Sundown, Stanley Steemer.
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